5 ELEMENTS OF ONLINE PRESENCE
What is an online presence?
Your business is only as good as people say it is. Online presence is your way of entering the conversation and influencing customer decision making. If someone searches for your business, what will they find? A business listing? A website? Your Facebook? And furthermore, will they see a consistent picture everywhere they look? If you have a complete online presence, the answer is yes!
There are five elements to having an online presence. We some these up as Local Visibility, Reviews, Social, Website, and Data. Think of each as part of an engine. Without all five doing their job, the car won’t move. Without all five, your business misses out on opportunities to engage with your customers online.
When a business’s local listings are complete with hours, reviews, ratings, photos, and relevant information like menus or product lists, consumers are 197% more likely to view that business as a place they can depend on.
Local is where it all starts. Let’s say a customer does a Google Search for your industry, for example, restaurants or dentists or plumbers. Does your business appear as an option?
Having a local presence means prospective customers can learn about your business in one search. They should see a description of your business, hours, photos, a map, and links to places where they can learn more like your website or social media. This information is housed in your Google Business Listing.
But what if your customer isn’t searching on Google? What if they use Yelp, Bing, Yahoo, or Apple maps? Local presence goes beyond Google. It’s about showing your customers great information wherever they search for it on whatever device and platform.
Around 97% of people read online reviews before making a decision. And 85% trust an online review as much as a personal recommendations. A lot of business owners talk to us about marketing by word of mouth. We tell them that word of mouth is the most powerful, and by having an online presence your marketing to how we as consumers share information.
Now that your customer has found your business on a search engine page like Google or Bing, they decide to read some reviews. Does this excite you or terrify you? Either way, they’re going to read those reviews. If you’re hoping word of mouth grows your business, best to trust your reviews to do the job.
Developing an online presence through reviews requires two things. First is gathering new reviews. If your reviews are outdated or if you have relatively few reviews, it won’t be enough to satisfy customers. They want to learn from the most current
customer experiences. Chances are they’ll read an average of seven reviews before forming an opinion.
Second is responding to reviews. Replying and interacting to customers on reviews shows your engaged with the public. You can express gratitude to great reviews, contest and clarify negative reviews, and show your potential customers your best side.
Facebook influences 52% of customers’ online and online purchases.
Is social media a part of your online presence? You bet. The users on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn are only growing. There are two opportunities for your business on Social Media. First, it can function like your local presence. Facebook in particular is great for this. It displays your location, hours, and reviews just like a business listing.
Second, it’s one of the best places to interact with customers, both new and old. For people who’ve never been to your store, social media (including video content on YouTube) shows off your brand and products. For old customers, it reminds them of their past experience in your store or the product they already bought. In this way, social media helps retain customers and keep them coming back for more.
Social media should help drive traffic to places with a stronger sales focus like your website and even in store.
78% of mobile searches for local business information result in a purchase.
Another large aspect of online presence is a website. Don’t worry, your website doesn’t have to sell anything. Instead, it’s another great source for people to learn about your business before making a purchasing decision. You can show off your product, answer frequently asked questions, or go into detail about case studies or reviews.
Really, the best part of your website is the total control you have over it. You’re able to show the customer anything, whereas social media or your business listing only allow specific content. Ultimately, a website makes your business look legitimate in the eyes of the customer.
A website is also a great marketing channel. Credibility aside, if your business has the size and capability of blogging, you can drive organic traffic to your site. Plus, with online retail becoming more popular, chances are your small business will sell from your website in the future. When you include a website in your online presence, you’re already ahead of the curve.
“our goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight.”
– Carly Fiorina, former executive, president, and chair of Hewlett-Packard Co.
Developing an online presence is wasted if you don’t learn from the results. That’s why data is the final element of a complete online presence. The big question that data answers is this “Are my efforts working?” Is social media driving traffic to my store and website? Are my reviews engaging the customers the way I want? Do I appear higher on Google and other engine results?
These are all questions that data covers. Data is compelling! If utilized correctly, it will prompt you to better engage your customers online.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a tool to manage all aspects of your online presence? We believe you are smart enough to grow your online presence on your own. We just simplify the process by offer an easy-to-use service to manage it all in one place.
We have a software solution to tackle all aspects of your digital marketing strategy.
Local: Any changes you make to your Google Business Listing from our software is automatically changed on your other listings. That means updating one listing to affect what customers see on 70+ different search engines and directories.
Reviews: Responding to reviews and generating new reviews helps your business. From our software, you can respond to a review from any platform, whether it be Yelp, Facebook, Google, or more. And with our generation tool, you can send personalized review requests via text or email to your recent customers. 68% of customers will leave a review when asked.
Social: We’ve integrated Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn right into our software. You can post, tweet, comment, like and interact with your customers on each social platform from one place.
Website: Link your website directly to the software to see how customers interact with your page. Track new visitors, views, the time spent on the page, and other interactions.
Data: For each element of online presence, we show you the most important data to gauge your success. That way you can reevaluate and take action to continually improve your own online presence.
BY ENGAGING WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS ONLINE,
YOU INFLUENCE THEIR DECISIONS & EMPOWER
Want to Get Started? We would love to hear from you.